On Monday, May 2, Adventure Cycling Association kicked off its second annual grassroots fundraising effort to raise $30,000 to support ongoing coordination efforts for the emerging U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) — likely to become the largest official cycling network on the planet. The Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign will run the entire month of May (National Bike Month).
Using social media tools, a group of dedicated fundraisers, state partners, and leveraged funds from a diverse roster of business and organizational donors, Adventure Cycling hopes to inspire cyclists across America to donate $10 or more to help build this national network. In 2010, Adventure Cycling raised more than $27,000 to support the USBRS during its inaugural May campaign.
Donations from business supporters, combined with a few early bird gifts from Adventure Cycling members, have helped the Association start the 2011 campaign with nearly $7,000 already raised. "Like last year, we hope that this early support indicates that we will surpass our goals for fundraising and awareness," said Julie Huck, membership director for Adventure Cycling and an organizer of the campaign.To date, business supporters of the campaign include AdventureCORPS, BikeQuest Touring Company, Ortlieb, Razoo, Red Arrow Group, Salsa, Stan's No Tubes, and TeamEstrogen.com.
This early excitement is not surprising. Thirty states are now working on U.S. Bicycle Routes and this week, Adventure Cycling anticipates that AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) will approve the first new U.S. Bicycle Routes in over 30 years. AASHTO is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association representing highway and transportation departments in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. A powerful voice in the transportation sector, its primary goal is to foster the development of an integrated national transportation system.
"It's very exciting to see new routes going before AASHTO for official designation and recognition," said Ginny Sullivan, special projects director for Adventure Cycling, and coordinator for the U.S. Bicycle Route System. "To see national and state efforts come to fruition is extremely gratifying and mobilizing."
State partners are a new kind of ally in Adventure Cycling's fundraising efforts for the project. By helping to raise funds for the USBRS during this campaign, state partner organizations will share in a percentage of the proceeds, which they will use to support the creation of U.S. Bike Routes in their home state. For the 2011 campaign, state partners include Bike Walk Tennessee, Bicycle Alliance of Washington, New Mexico Touring Society, Virginia Bicycle Federation, Bike Utah, South Dakota Bicycle Coalition, and Bicycle Advocacy of Central Arkansas.
The U.S. Bicycle Route System is a proposed national network of bicycle routes that span multiple states and are of national and regional significance. The USBRS project is a collaborative effort, spearheaded by a task force under the auspices of AASHTO. Members of the task force include officials and staff from state DOTs, the Federal Highway Administration, and nonprofits, including Adventure Cycling Association, the East Coast Greenway Alliance, and Mississippi River Trail, Inc. Adventure Cycling has provided dedicated staff support to the project since 2005.
Since 2006, Adventure Cycling's work on the U.S. Bicycle Route System has been supported by Adventure Cycling members and donors, as well as by grants from Bikes Belong, Educational Foundation of America, Lazar Foundation, New Belgium Brewing Company, SRAM Cycling Fund, and the Surdna Foundation.
Cyclists and other supporters can learn more about the 2011 Build It. Bike It. Be a Part of It. campaign, and make a donation, at http://www.razoo.com/p/BuildtheUSBRS2011.
To stay up-to-date on the U.S. Bicycle Route System, and the fundraising campaign, supporters can join the conversation about the USBRS on Facebook, or follow the project on Twitter @usbicycleroutes (#2011usbrs). If you'd like to help spread the word, learn how at http://www.adventurecycling.org/beapartofit/.
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Adventure Cycling Association is the largest bicycle travel organization in North America with nearly 45,000 members. A nonprofit organization, its mission is to inspire people of all ages to travel by bicycle. It produces routes and maps for cycling in North America, organizes more than 45 tours annually, and publishes the best bicycle-travel information anywhere, including Adventure Cyclist magazine and The Cyclists' Yellow Pages online. With 40,699 meticulously mapped miles in the Adventure Cycling Route Network, Adventure Cycling gives cyclists the tools and confidence to create their own bike travel adventures. Contact the office at (800) 755-BIKE (2453), firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.adventurecycling.org.